Home News Nuclear and chemical warfare: 25 years on, NATO bombing still haunts Serbia

Nuclear and chemical warfare: 25 years on, NATO bombing still haunts Serbia

Nuclear and chemical warfare: 25 years on, NATO bombing still haunts Serbia

The US-led bloc used tons of depleted uranium munitions during its aggression, the impact of which has not been fully explored a quarter of a century later.

Serbia is commemorating the anniversary of NATO’s attack on the former Yugoslavia, with the consequences of the aggression still plaguing the country. RT’s Charlotte Dubenskij explored the impact of the war, which is still felt across the region 25 years on – and hasn’t even been fully disclosed.

During the illegal bombing campaign, NATO forces used about 31,000 shells containing depleted uranium, a highly toxic and mildly radioactive material. Attacks using such munitions hit about 91 locations across the country, Dubensky noted.

According to NATO’s own estimates, 10 metric tons of material were used during the campaign. Depleted uranium was primarily used in the 30 mm incendiary ammunition used by the A-10 Thunderbolt II ground attack aircraft, as well as the 25 mm Bradly infantry fighting vehicle rounds and M1 Abrams tank shells. The depleted uranium cores in such munitions vaporize on impact and are likely to leave the environment polluted for years.

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Aggression against the country essentially achieved a “nuclear and chemical warfare”, Serbian Health Minister Danica Grujičić said that the use of depleted uranium, which is believed to be behind the increase in cancer cases and other health problems registered in the affected regions.

“It was a nuclear and chemical war against my country in 1999. It was a regional ecological disaster. During the bombing, there were many very toxic and cancerous substances in the air, in the soil, in the water, not only in Kosovo and Metohija, but also in the north of Serbia. What I have seen as a doctor is, above all, that there are many more oncological diseases, but also that the tumors are more aggressive. The results of the therapy were less happy than before.” Grujičić told RT, adding that the country registers an abnormal rate of genetic disorders in both humans and animals.

We don’t even know how many consequences we can associate with NATO bombing and aggression and depleted uranium.

The bombing campaign took its toll not only on Serbs, but also on ethnic Albanians whom the US-led bloc claimed to be protecting, as well as its own soldiers involved in the attack. “Now over 300 Italian veterans who developed cancer as a result of this exposure have since gone on trial,” Dubensky said, referring to the hundreds of Italian NATO soldiers who suffered from various severe conditions after being exposed to depleted uranium (DU) during their deployment.

NATO launched Operation Allied Force on 24 March 1999 and bombed the country for 78 days on behalf of ethnic Albanian separatists in Kosovo. The province was then placed under the UN Provisional Government while Security Council Resolution 1244 guaranteed Serbian sovereignty. In 2008, the US-backed interim government of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence, a move never recognized by Belgrade.

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